The women who raised me shared a suspicion of sparkly, yet were drawn to it. This meant that indulging in sparkles and rhinestones and festoonery was reserved for Easter hats and the occasional formal event.

Easter-hat-shopping assumed remarkable and multigenerational import. It was valid excuse for a trip to Sears Roebuck. It was a rationale for spending an afternoon in the company of women only. It was fun without a purpose, other than fun.

Sears Roebuck understood all this and responded with largesse for the masses. Weeks prior to the holiday celebrating the triumph over death, three or four huge tables were piled with hats like bouquets on a pyre. Whilst my Mom and her sisters tried on hats, my cousins and I indulged in sparkle-hunting: lots of rhinestones and the occasional feather fell off the hats and landed in corners of the tables. We became adept at collecting these tiny castoffs and pocketing them. What we intended to use them for, I can’t recall but having little sparkly things was satisfying.

Less satisfying was the actual purchase of a hat, since Mom picked it. I understood her confidence in knowing what to choose. I just didn’t care for her criteria. She sought age-appropriate bonnets. I wanted rambunctious and flamboyant. I wanted sparkles. I suspect she did, too; but was too well bred to say so.

About Mrs. Fitz

Hello! I'm Michele Fitzpatrick, a Chicago writer. Like our town, a work in progress. As a journalist, teacher and writing coach I think all of us live our stories and sharing them creates moments that remind us we're connected. And that is enough.
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